The MLB season is just two days old, and already we’ve seen King Félix Hernández work his usual opening-day magic, this time against the Angels of Anaheim. He gave up a first-inning homer to budding star Mike Trout, then wickedly denied his division rival for seven innings–par for the course for Félix, who is now 6-0 after eight first-day starts. And since his first lid-lifter in 2007, Seattle has won 9 consecutive debuts, tied for the all-time record. The King is just damned good.
Over on the sandy shores of Miami, Henderson Álvarez was less fortunate in his first opening-day start. They literally rained on his parade, having to close the Marlins Stadium’s retractable roof in the second inning. Henderson only gave up two runs to the Braves, but in the bottom of the seventh, his countryman Luis Avilán helped shut down a bases-loaded, no-outs situation for the Marlins by inducing a double-play grounder from old Sock Jarrod Saltalamacchia. The big Caraqueña had a very up-and-down campaign for the Braves last year, but lefty relievers are invaluable, so he’ll get a chance in hot ‘Lanta in 2015.
Today we look to the ’15 debuts of Aníbal Sánchez, back after an injury-shortened 2014 for Detroit, and newly-wealthy Indian Carlos Carrasco, who looked a world-beater in the last two months of the season. Sánchez will be looking to return to his former star form, as a steady #3 behind David Price and Justin Verlander, while on the shores of Lake Erie Carlos C. will want to prove the Tribe’s big investment in him, which could earn him between $22 million and $48 million over the next four years, based on incentives, etc.
Carrasco’s tale tells a marked difference with that of Maracucho right-hander Jhoulys Chacín, whom the Colorado Rockies gave up on last week, after watching him battle injuries much of the past three seasons. Here on the VZ blog we admired Jhoulys’ comeback attempts, going back down to play for the Modesto Nuts of the A-League, but finally the Rockies decided to go with some younger and stronger arms. Just two seasons ago JC won 14 games in Denver, but pro sports is a tough business.
You know what’s sad? For an ex-Aguila de Zulia, a team known for their pumpkin-colored uniforms, I may now never have the chance to refer to Chacín as an Orange Jhoulys.